The CoffeeBar Kid talks to Wade Schuman, harmonica player and founder of Hazmat Modine, the most exciting, original, explosive band you'll ever see! They're a maverick blues/folk/world fusion/jazz band from New York, founded in the late 1990s. Drawing from the rich soil of American music of the 1920s and 30s, right through to the 50s and 60s and blending elements of early blues, hokum jugband, swing, Klezmer, New Orleans R&B and Jamaican rocksteady, the band is fronted by two harmonicas which use call and response, harmony, melody and syncopated interweaving rhythms. The band includes tuba, guitar and percussion, claviola and Hawaaian steel guitar. Hazmat Modine’s sounds reflects musical influences ranging from avant-garde jazz to rockabilly and Western swing, to Middle Eastern, African and Hawaiian musical styles.
Of their unusual name, lead singer Wade Schuman says “HAZMAT is an American English word for Hazardous Materials, AKA dangerous materials, you see it on the sides of trucks or special trashcans. MODINE is the brand name for an industrial forced air heater unit, the kind that hangs down in garages and artists’ lofts … the company is in Muncie Indiana … they are both American words, but the sound of them together is rather exotic. People often think HAZMAT is Turkish. I thought Modine sounded a bit like a 1950s rock n roll band.” He also says this is an appropriate name for the band since they "blow a lot of hot air," including harmonicas, tubas and saxophones.